Bollywood review: Govinda makes a striking move with 'Happy Ending'

A poster of the Bollywood film 'Happy Ending.' (Supplied)

True to its title, Bollywood 'romedy', ‘Happy Ending’ left us happy when it ended.

Although director-duo Krishna DK and Raj Nidimoru attempted to inject Hollywood sensibilities  into a Bollywood format, they struggled to keep it clever and witty. There’s even a hint at 'happy ending' massage parlour adventures as the credits roll out, but that’s hardly the tone of the film.

DK and Nidimoru, who had earlier worked on the wacky ‘Go Goa Gone’ and ‘99’, pick characters and scenes off Hollywood rom-coms, and weave them into a Bollywood love story brimming with romantic songs and plush international locations. It’s almost like they’ve taken the cues from their own megalomaniac superstar Armaan-ji, who is in search of a script that’ll win him the 'masses and classes.' On many levels, ‘Happy Ending’ is a reflection of its own effort.

There are glimpses of promise, no doubt, but those are far too few. As the 150-minutes of a scattered love story comes to an end, we are left with something pretentious and unworthy of applause, or tickles.

The frames are glossy, with the pretty faces prancing around stunning American locations. The efforts strangely appear more in line of a fashion shoot, than for a movie.

'Happy Ending' starts off with its 'young at heart' hero Saif Ali Khan sipping his cola while watching a movie with his current crush (and real wife) Kareena Kapoor Khan. Within seconds, Saif’s Yudi reveals he’s a commitment-phobe, as he quivers when his girl utters the dreaded four-letter word.

After Kareena exits, and a song later, we learn Yudi’s based in Los Angeles, and lives a life of affluence. That his one (and only) book fetched him so much wealth is something that can be questioned, but clearly the genre isn’t one that requires focus on realism.

So, we watch him flirt unabashedly, and refuse to commit to any woman, even while his BFF (best friend forever, for the uninitiated)  Montu and his obnoxious, pot-bellied alter-ego Yogi dish out relationship tips.

There does appear a time when his bank account is close to being emptied, and his plush car is taken away for a bit, forcing him to take on a movie-script-writing project for the movie star. But, those moments of distress are soon forgotten, after he bumps into the new writer on the block Aanchal and an aged hero who is looking to win over an audience.

The narrative shifts between the need for a Hollywood-meets-Bollywood 'romedy' script, and a love story that doesn’t show much promise. If the filmmakers had favoured the scripting exercise over the romance, it would’ve evoked more cheer and laughter.

Saif and Illeana D’Cruz make a dull pair. They look striking, but are unable to cook up any real passion.

Kareena and Preity Zinta, who step in for 'special appearances,' are equally unimpressive and no fun. 

Thankfully, there’s Ranveer Shorey, who fortunately lands some genuinely funny lines, and delivers them with aplomb. Sadly, he’s got limited screen time. Another actor who dazzled despite landing a tiny, twisted part is Kalki, who excels as the naïve, yet annoying 'ex' girlfriend Vishaka.

But, the star of the show is undoubtedly Govinda. There’s a reason why he’s called the king of comedy. Whether it’s flipping his sunglasses at random, or shoving Hollywood DVDs at his new scriptwriter, or paying for instant six-pack abs, he’s got it down perfectly. Even his disco number is 'kickass.'

Unfortunately, we can’t say the same about the movie.

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